There's something undeniably whimsical, tacky, and sometimes terrifying about tourist attractions. That said, lovers of Americana should find Eric Dregni's exploratory research on all things grand in Middle America fascinating. In Midwest Marvels, he seeks out all the things that put towns on the map—fiberglass rodents, weird museums, and rubber-neck-inducing houses. Destinations for weird include a 30-foot, 45-ton talking bull in Audubon, Iowa; South Dakota's curious Outhouse Museum; and the World's Largest Six-Pack in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. For Oddball Minnesota, Dregni's exploration of all things peculiar was even more specialized—suggesting road trips to see things like the world's largest pipe (in Pipestone, obviously), the world's largest talking Paul Bunyan statue in Brainerd (is there a larger, non-talking statue out there?), and a giant coffee cup spilling brew in Vining. Some may say fiberglass is a cheap product used in construction, but to others it's the modeling clay used to make giant-"thing" roadside art. This Saturday, Dregni, a walking encyclopedia of things quirky, will host a reading, slideshow, and pop quiz. Now would be an excellent time to get ideas for the yearly summer road trip.
Sat., Dec. 1, 7 p.m., 2007